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My ’70s musical tastes ran the usual gambit of a high school dork whose analogue can be found in Dazed And Confused – Aerosmith, Kiss, Foghat, Frampton, etc. I also had a bit of a prog-tock streak – Genesis, Rush, ELP – that featured Queen heavily. My introduction to Queen was through hearing “Killer Queen” on AM Radio. My first Queen album was Sheer Heart Attack which then led me back to Queen and Queen II. I collected every Queen album up until Jazz. I prefer deep cut Queen to the hits. “Son & Daughter” over “Keep Yourself Alive”. Anything on Queen 2 – a truly odd sophomore album that should have killed their career. “Tenement Funster” or “Brighton Rock” over “Killer Queen” – though I believe Sheer Heart Attack is the best Queen album ever! “Death On Two Legs” or “I’m In Love With My Car” (yes – I said it!) over “Bohemian Rhapsody” (yes – I said that too!). “Tie Your Mother Down” over “Somebody To Love”. Queen was always best when weird – the atonal musical compositions – Brian May’s synth-like guitar solos (NO SYNTHS! in the liner notes) – Freddie’s epic vocals – the not-ready-for-AM-radio lyrical topics. It would only be decades later that I would REALLY understand what those songs were about, and perhaps that’s the timeless genius of Queen.
This recipe name originated as a pulled pork sandwich with Thai peanut sauce and collard green kimchi. Yes – I KNOW kimchi is Korean. I also know it’s not made with collard greens, but that’s not the point. I used the name again for a Friday bar burger special swapping out the kimchi for Thai pepper relish, quick-pickled cucumbers, and Thai peanut sauce. When I decided to make this for Music & Food, as I don’t cook much meat at home, I decided to take this in a full vegetarian direction. My usual choices would be tofu, seitan, or portobello mushroom, but these options just felt like a continuation of the “meat” theme.
Then I remembered cauliflower “steaks”. Really just thick slices with the florets still connected to the stems, it seemed like the perfect base for a vegetarian (actually it’s vegan) sandwich. I had a great Thai spice mix recipe in my notebook, so the choice was made to use Thai roasted cauliflower steaks as the base for this revised sandwich.
You’ll want to pickle the vegetables in advance. You could do them in the morning to use for dinner. Better still is to make them a day in advance. The peanut sauce is also excellent as a dressing for chicken or a green salad.
THAI YOUR MOTHER DOWN
Thai roasted cauliflower, pickled vegetables, cucumber, peanut sauce and Aleppo pepper flakes on a bulkie roll
Makes 2 – 3 sandwiches
Thai roasted cauliflower (see recipe below)
Pickled vegetables (see recipe below)
Peanut sauce (see recipe below)
Cucumber, sliced thin
Aleppo pepper flakes
Spread peanut sauce on the bottom roll. Place 2-3 cauliflower steaks (depending on size) on the bottom bun. Top with 4-5 cucumber slices and pickled vegetables. Sprinkle with Aleppo pepper flakes. Spread a bit of peanut sauce on the top bun. Enjoy!
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon ginger, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Sambal Oelek (or Sriracha)
1 teaspoon Hoisin
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons water
Combine everything in a blender and blend until smooth.
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 poblano, cut into thin strips
1/2 medium sweet onion, sliced thin
3 cups hot water
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/4 cup of rice vinegar
1 lime, juiced
Combine water, turbinado, salt, rice vinegar, and lime juice in a bowl. Whisk until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add vegetables and toss. Put in a storage container and let sit for 30 minutes. Store in the refrigerator.
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes (or red pepper flakes)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into ½” thick slices
1/4 cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Combine spices and set aside.
Cut the green leaves off the cauliflower heads, then slice cauliflower into half through the stem. Starting at the cut side of each cauliflower half, make approximately 1/2-inch-thick slices. You should end up with about 4 slices per head. If they start to fall apart at the very end, that’s ok, you can still roast smaller cauliflower florets.
Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper. Carefully transfer cauliflower slices to the pan and oil both sides then squeeze lime over each slice.
Sprinkle with spice mix on both sides and bake in the oven for 25 to 35 minutes, depending on your taste. I prefer a slight crunch so I went with 30 minutes.